Investment plan


The Portfolio Analysis of September 2022, the budget situation, and the expected allotments from the Ministries for 2023 is the basis of the activities and priorities for this portfolio for the upcoming years.

For 2023 the following activities / sub-portfolios have disposable income to be used for call for proposals;

    • Research on the High North and the Arctic
    • Research on Russia
  • Global Health
    • Global Health Research relevant to Sustainable Development Goal 3
    • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Collaborative Funding Call with Global Research Council (GRC)
    • International Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (IIRCC) Collaborative funding call through New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), Canada, administered by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf all granting agencies.
  • Global sustainable development (former INDNOR and CHINOR)
    • Joint Call with The National Natural Science Foundation of China

Below is the topics of the planned calls for 2023. In addition to the text below, please be advised to also read the Portfolio Plan for Global Development and International relations for further information.

Topics - call for proposals 2023

Security and governance (UTENRIKS)

Following a period of steadily increasing cooperation and relative stability, most indicators now point towards a more turbulent and unpredictable world. Several regions of the world are characterized by instability, violence and ongoing conflicts, most recently in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign and security policy concerns the behavior of individual countries and is affected by systemic impulses that impinge upon the individual countries, e.g. the number of and relations between the great powers, and by alliance obligations. Foreign and security policy behavior is also a product of domestic factors: the mindset and ambitions of key decision-makers, domestic political constellations, including the character of the bureaucracy, and economic and military capabilities. Security policy is about the survival of the nation state and the safety of its citizens.

Some countries, regions and institutions stand out as particularly significant and deserving of attention from a Norwegian point of view. These countries may be important to Norway’s foreign and security policy relations or may be global drivers because of their economic and military strength and/or their technological impact. At the same time, however, it is essential to carry out research on themes, countries and areas other than those that appear to be most immediately important, both because this helps us to understand new developments and changes to the international system, and because it gives us access to knowledge that may be useful in contingency situations. Of particular importance from a Norwegian foreign and security policy standpoint are Russia and the former Soviet states, the High North and the Arctic, the USA, Europe and the European Union, as well as the leading Asian countries.
Given the budgetary situation the portfolio will allocate funds for two calls for proposals within this topic in 2023.

Research on the High North and the Arctic

Norway is situated in the northwestern corner of Europe, with oceans to the west and the north. It shares a border with Russia, a major regional power with ambitions of reach and influence outside its own borders.

The strategic position of the Arctic between the great and regional powers and the heighten tension in Europe due to the war in Ukraine makes this area one if strategic interest not only to Norway. Significant naval and other conventional forces are deployed or close to the area. Important minerals, carbon resources and bioresources are present and in demand.

This has implications for all the Arctic states and there is a need to understand how this will influence security and peace in the region and how it will affect economic investments and sustainable living in the area. The role of and the possibilities for the Arctic Council to play a role is also of interest to examine and debate.

The following topics are relevant:

  • Development in the great and regional power's strategic thinking and behavior in the High North. Implications for Arctic security and governance.
  • Economic investments and sustainable living in the Arctic, challenges ahead
  • Arctic Council and other organized forms for cooperation in the Arctic, their role and possible scope of action and influence
Research on Russia

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, war has returned to Europe with profound consequences for European economics, politics and security, including within NATO and broader transatlantic relations. Europe and the US have come together both in delivering weapons and other forms of aid and assistance to Ukraine and in applying tough sanctions on Russia.
Moscow is further seeking to strengthen economic ties as well as political and security relations with non-Westerns states such as China and India also prioritizing multilateral organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At the same time, Russia continues to play a significant role in relation to developments and conflicts in the Middle East and Africa using both legitimate and illegitimate means.

As the relationship to Russia has deteriorated significantly with little dialogue and cooperation left, it is of crucial importance to Norway to ensure a high level of research knowledge and competence on Russia. Norway shares a border with Russia and especially in the High North, Norwegian national interests and security are directly linked up with Russia.

How Norwegian, European or broader Western relations with Russia further develop will set the broader frame for Norwegian foreign, including development, security and defense policies in the years if not decades to come.

In order to ensure a high level of Norwegian research knowledge and competence on Russia, we encourage innovative research on Russian society, economic and politics, including foreign, security and defense policies and Russian military.

The following topics are relevant:

  • Russian domestic politics – developments and tensions between the society and state in Russia.
  • How Russian domestic politics play into Russian foreign and security policy
  • Russia in the Global South
  • Russia and the evolving world order - developments in Russia’s strategic cooperation with China, India and other non-Western states. How might iinternational security be challenged.
Center for research on Geopolitics

The objective of this call to establish a center for research on Geopolitics is to strengthen Norwegian knowledge about great power rivalry and positioning, and how this will influence a broad specter of Norwegian interests and Norwegian foreign- and development policies.

The funds will be directed at applied research of high quality and with thematic and geographical focus on China. The center for research on Geopolitics will be funded for a period of six years, from 2023-2028.

Global Health

The primary objective of global health research is to conduct high quality research that will provide new knowledge and understanding of what is needed and how this can best be implemented to promote health equity and health improvements for disadvantaged populations in LLMICs[1]. This covers all areas described in the Portfolio plan under the section 4.2.3 Global health, including determinants of health, burden of disease, health systems, and policy and practice.

Research on the intersecting social, economic, political and cultural determinants of health, and access to and the provision of health services is of relevance to global health research supported by the portfolio. So is also the influence of global-level institutions and policy processes, and global governance and financing mechanisms, which often shape the parameters for health improvement in LLMICs.

Disadvantaged populations in LLMICs contribute disproportionately to the global burden of disease and suffer from excessive mortality, morbidity and disability due to a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The specific targets set include an emphasis on vulnerable populations, including mothers and new-born babies, children under five years of age, as well as a focus on communicable diseases such as AIDS, TB and malaria, neglected tropical diseases, hepatitis, waterborne and other communicable diseases. Premature death from non-communicable diseases, mental health and wellbeing, the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, death and injury from road traffic accidents, hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution are recognised and important aspects of the global burden of disease.

The portfolio will support and encompass research that can contribute to continued progress in reducing the burden from communicable diseases, maternal, new-born, and child health, non communicable diseases (NCDs), population-based public health interventions that can prevent major health risks, and all other health issues reflected in the SDG 3 targets. The spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will stall progress in fighting infectious diseases, and research on all aspects of AMR in an LMIC-setting is therefore supported by the portfolio, as is vaccine development. Specific mention is also made of the need to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programmes.

Research is needed to provide information to inform health systems and strengthen the provision of high-quality health services, thereby ensuring health preparedness, promoting equity, and meeting the health needs of LMIC populations, especially those who are most vulnerable, disadvantaged and hard-to reach. One of the key targets of SDG3 is to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to high-quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, high-quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

The portfolio will allocate funds for three calls for proposals within this topic in 2023.

Global Health Research

In this call funding will be available for research on health improvements for vulnerable populations in low- and lower-middle income countries (LLMICs). The research must be relevant to Sustainable Development Goal 3 ‘Good health for all’ and one or more of its targets.

Relevant research proposals must show potential to:

  1. contribute, directly or indirectly, to substantial reductions in the disease burden in LMICs. Focusing on issues that contribute to the greatest disease burden is important to identify areas where research can contribute to the greatest impact. However, it is important to recognise that, in contexts and for populations where surveillance and diagnostic services are non-existent or weak, estimates of mortality and morbidity are complicated, inaccurate or even completely lacking. Research is needed that seeks to provide ‘know how’ on the development of birth and death registration and causes of death, as well as assessing documentation of morbidity, especially for ‘hard to reach’ and disadvantaged population groups.
  2. promote health equity in LMICs. This implies research that addresses the health needs of groups that disproportionally suffer from avoidable disease and premature death. It includes children, and socially and economically disadvantaged groups, such as people living in poverty, rural populations and disadvantaged minorities. Focusing on equity also involves pursuing research on the social, environmental, economic, and political determinants that play a significant role in shaping health inequities. Moreover, promoting equity would also favour research that focuses on values that are indirectly linked to health equity—for example voice, agency, and accountability of citizens in health systems.
  3. produce higher-level insights of relevance to policy and practice beyond the specific setting and context where studies are carried out, i.e. by closing current evidence gaps and generating findings that are transferable across settings, thus informing future guidelines and policies.
Equitable partnerships

Relevant projects must establish equitable partnerships with research organizations from LLMICs.

An important part of equitable partnerships is ensuring that LMIC institutions and researchers are genuinely involved in defining the scope, relevance and priority questions of collaborative research proposals. Concrete examples include development of protocols, standard operating procedures and other tools (e.g. surveys, interview guides and other research instruments) as well as in the analyses of the data and publication and other dissemination of the findings.

The allocation of funding to respective LMIC partners should be commensurate with their expected responsibilities and the capacity-strengthening goals, from scientific leadership to grant management. Collaboration agreements governing the partnerships should, among other things, stipulate the responsibilities of Norwegian and LLMIC researchers, as well as other partners in managing the grant and developing research studies, and how, in collaboration, they will manage data handling, scientific analysis, intellectual property rights and authorship. Research projects carried out in LLMICs should demonstrate co-leadership of the proposed scientific agenda with investigators from LLMIC institutions and strive to include opportunities for mentorship and/or research training for junior researchers from Norway and LLMIC partners.

Partners in LLMIC should, where possible, be assigned senior responsibility within the project as co-project manager, work package leaders or as project managers if employed in part by the Norwegian project owner. Eligible projects must include concrete plans for how the project will contribute to strengthening both individual and institutional capacity in the collaborating institutions, thereby enabling researchers from the LLMIC institution to take on responsibility as project managers in the future. In clinical studies or other research projects in LLMICs that require a sponsor, the sponsor-investigator[2] should be employed at the implementing institution in the LLMIC, unless there is a specific rationale for an alternative arrangement, e.g. in multi-country studies.

User involvement and Public Patient Involvement

User involvement refers to the involvement of end-users of research findings, during different stages of the research process, from defining the research priorities and questions to interpreting the implications of the research for policy and practice. Relevant users of global health research may include community members, patients, health professionals, health systems managers and other administrators of a health system, officials and bureaucrats in the ministry of health, politicians, other collaborative partners and officials in international organizations and local and international NGOs and social movements. Relevant end users must be represented in all phases of the project.

When performing research involving vulnerable groups, ethical aspects such as the capacity to give consent and data collection/processing must be taken into account. Projects concerning children and adolescents are to preserve and safeguard their perspectives, needs and rights.


Developing strong research proposals and equitable research partnerships where all partners are involved from the onset is both resource- and time-consuming. To meet this challenge up to NOK 5 million will be available for researchers and consortia that want to apply for funding from the planned global health call in 2024. Researchers can apply for support to carry out various types of preparatory work, activities, and measures necessary to develop a project idea and a collaboration based on principles of equitable partnership, and to clarify important preconditions that must be met in order for the idea to be realized. The objective of the call for pre-projects is to establish solid equitable research partnerships that develop strong and relevant applications for the global health call for proposals in 2024.

Belmont Forum Joint Call

Climate change has adversely affected physical health of people globally as recently highlighted in the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC[3]. Weather and climate extreme events have resulted in human mortality and morbidity and an increase in the occurrence of climate-related food-borne and water-borne diseases. The incidence of vector-borne diseases has increased and animal and human diseases, including zoonoses, are emerging in new areas.
In 2019 The Belmont Forum (BF) funded Climate, Environment and Health (CEH) Collaborative Research Action (CRA) aimed to fund projects to improve understanding of the pathways between climate, environment, and health to protect and promote human health and well-being in the face of climate challenges. The Belmont Forum has facilitated a scoping process during Summer/Autumn 2022 with the aim of launching a follow-up CRA by the end of 2022/beginning of 2023.

Global health will participate in this international joint call with NOK 5 million.

Poverty, development, and equality (NORGLOBAL2)

Collaborative Funding Call – Global Research Council
NORGLOBAL2 will participate with funds in the Collaborative Funding Call on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Global Research Council (GRC). The total sum of the call is 8,2 million €. A call for concept notes (CNs) was published at The National Research Organization in South Africa. Deadline of this concept call was 25 August 2022

The call is supported by 11 funding agencies (Chile (ANIID), China (NSFC), Côte d’Ivoire (FONSTI), Kenya (NRF Kenya), Norway (RCN), South Africa (NRF), Switzerland (SNSF), Sweden (Formas), Tanzania (COSTECH), The Netherlands (NWO) and Turkey (TUBITAK)) spanning four continents.
This is a pilot call aiming to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, through the implementation of results from ongoing or recently finalised research and innovation projects to advance knowledge based achievement of the SDGs, from local to regional scale.

Projects will be funded through international consortia where researchers together with implementation partners and stakeholders collectively and collaboratively aim to improve research outcomes for impact. The research and outcomes of the projects funded should lead to impact on society and improve the livelihoods of people on the ground.

The topic if the call was to Advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, particularly in the topics of Human well-being and capabilities; Sustainable and just economies; Food systems and nutrition patterns; Energy decarbonization with universal access; Urban and peri-urban development; Global environmental commons.

More than 200 CNs was received in August 2022, out of which about 75 involving Norwegian institutions. Based on the wide diversity both in topics and geographic distribution among the CNs received, it became evident that it is very unlikely that NORGLOBAL2 alone can fund all Norwegian projects. As a result, RCN has landed on a solution involving funding from CHINOR, NORGLOBAL2 and BILAT based on the final ranking of fundable projects. Please note that this joint funding solution is not reflected in the investment tables below as this will only be known in November/December when the final ranking of fundable projects is available. As per now the tables shows the total funding under NORGLOBAL alone.

International Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (IIRCC) Collaborative funding call through New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Canada
RCN has been invited to participate in a collaborative funding call: International Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (IIRCC) through New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), Canada, administered by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) on behalf all granting agencies. The entrance cost is estimated to about NOK 35 million/participant while Canada will invest approximately NOK 45 million. At RCN the portfolios KLIMAFORSK and Global Development and International Relations suggest investing NOK 20 million and NOK 11 million, respectively. Funding from NORGLOBAL2 is earmarked activities in Norwegian partner countries in the global south.

An MoU to support the call is being developed by the following agencies, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), German Research Foundation (DFG), National Science Foundation (NSF), Research Council of Norway (RCN), Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Target research areas

  1. The call will require that projects address at least two of the 8 representative key risks identified in the 6th IPCC report Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.
  2. The call will focus on vulnerable communities without specifically targeting any geographic regions.
Global sustainable development (Global bærekraft)

The aim of this sub-portfolio is to mobilise research on the Sustainable development goals across sectors, aimed at developing countries and in particular at the countries prioritized in the Government's Panorama Strategy. Norwegian researchers' participation in international partnerships, with particular emphasis on ODA partner countries is key.

Further the activity should contribute to capacity building both in Norway and in partner countries in the South for research and innovation challenges in the breadth of the SDG's goals and indicators. Research for global sustainability will make an important contribution to the design and organization of Norwegian development and aid policy and build expertise on global issues in sector areas that have traditionally had a national focus.
Investments through this activity will also contribute to the Research Council's efforts bilaterally towards priority cooperation countries in development policy, as well as countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa, which are central countries in the Panorama Strategy.
Research for global sustainability will be a mobilization scheme that can co-finance research with funds from other RCN Portfolios by allocating dedicated funds into various thematic calls for proposals, and through this double the efforts on important sectoral responsibility for the SDGs and to contribute to international research on these.

Research cooperation with China (CHINOR)

The Research Council have been in discussions with the National Natural Science Foundation of China on preparing a joint call for 2023/2024. The topic for the call has yet to be agreed upon and will be conditional to co-funding with other portfolios and their priorities.

Research Cooperation with India (INDNOR)

Thematic priorities for research cooperation with India is primarily guided by priorities in the Government’s India strategy and by agreements with Indian government partners. There will be a meeting in the bilateral Joint working group between Norway and India in October 2022, headed by Ministry of research and higher education on the Norwegian side and Department of Science and Technology on the Indian side. Discussion in this meeting will help decide further collaboration thematically and timewise. The Research Council wishes to prioritize Ocean Space for next call/cooperation, but this will be determined after the Joint working group meeting and in discussion with other portfolios internally this autumn.

[1] LLMICs refers to the three following categories defined in the OECD DAC list as ‘least developed countries, low income countries, and lower middle income countries and territories which are not LDCs’.

[2] A sponsor-investigator is here defined as the researcher at the implementing institution who conducts or oversees the study

[3] IPCC_AR6_WGII_SummaryForPolicymakers.pdf

Messages at time of print 3 December 2023, 02:19 CET

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